How Do You Name Your Rescue Dog?

Beaten, chained up, lacking adequate food, hydration, and exercise.  I just do not understand how anyone can go to bed with themselves while mistreating an animal.  It simply breaks my heart.  Well, like they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Meet our new family member.

Since moving to our little apartment on the sea, we have seen countless animals abused and neglected in our neighborhood.  Not exactly what you expect when you move to paradise, but then again, evil has no boundaries.

The family that lives behind us had a total of four dogs when we moved in here.  One dog, a pomeranian, was locked up and yapping constantly in a makeshift chicken coop.  One day that dog was no longer heard yapping and we have yet to know what happened to it.  Another dog, who we nicknamed Choker, was chained to a tree.  He would bark at us every time we drove our island car down a little dirt road that took us to our apartment.  We called this dog Choker, because he didn’t know his limits.  He would literally choke himself when he ran out of room on his chain, running towards our car while barking at us.  We always said that when we were financially in a better place that we would buy him food and feed him.  We were and still do struggle to keep food on our own table.  One day, however, Choker was no longer there and we were told that he got wrapped up by his chain and literally, hung himself.  I still feel a sense of guilt for not unleashing that poor animal and giving it the opportunity to run free and fend for itself.  It would have had more of a chance that way.  Another dog owned by these people, was named Dora.  Dora was neglected too, but Dora was thankfully bought by our Serbian neighbors for cash and a new phone.  Dora, with the grace of God, received a new home in town.  Then, there was Bee or “Mama Dog” as I named her.  This sweet creature was pregnant while I was, so I took quite the liking to her.  She was also chained up, neglected, and without love.  Mama Dog had a litter of pups that was born when I was about 8 months pregnant.  When my Mom and nephew, Tyler, were here in December 2012, the pups were just getting accustomed to their sea legs.  Then one day, my 4 year old nephew shared that he found a dead puppy.  Sickening, right?!; and, what is even more devastating is that most of the litter died.  Most of the puppies did not make it, however, a few did and they were adopted out.  Of these puppies that survived, one is named Shady and he belongs to our neighbors, Mike and Virginia.  The dog pictured above, he is Shady’s brother; he was another survivor and he went to an adjacent home.  Initially, this survivor pup was taken care of.  However, within months of life, he had a new battle to face.

So, now the house that initially had four dogs was down to just one dog, Mama Dog.  So, what happened to Mama Dog?  Well, those who follow my posts on Facebook may remember me posting that there was a male dog in the neighborhood spreading his seed around Valentine’s Day (how timely).  Mama Dog, chained up and vulnerable, stood prey to this and became pregnant.  Again.  Come to find out dogs are only pregnant for about 2 months! Lucky dogs!!!  Every woman who has ever been pregnant is probably a bit envious of that fact.  Thankfully, during this pregnancy Mama Dog received some loving.  Our landlord owns two houses and these two houses are broken into five apartments.  All of us who rent in these houses pulled together to nourish Mama Dog through her latest pregnancy.  This made it at least her third pregnancy in about two years.  None of us minded going onto our neighbor’s property either, because they weren’t even on island.  Could you imagine just leaving your dog, chained to a tree, no food, no water, in the hot sun, and pregnant?  Neither could I.  It is just downright cruel.

The love and care was well-received and Mama Dog delivered her healthy litter.  One of the most memorable moments that I will never forget is helping the runt of the litter nurse on her.  I actually had the opportunity to pick the pup up, place her on her Momma, and watch her receive her milk.  I had never had such an opportunity and it was amazing.  Once again our neighbors, Mike and Virginia, came to the rescue and helped to get all but one puppy adopted.  Then the owners came back and apparently evil does not like good.  All of a sudden, Mama Dog had a new chained up location, closer to their house, and further away from her sources of love.  With the owners home, I no longer felt comfortable walking through their property.  Then, just about two weeks ago, one of the owners shared that Mama Dog was sick.  The next day, Mama Dog was dead.  One more beautiful creature lost to neglect.

Just about a week ago, Tim and I were talking and we said that we should go rescue a dog from the Humane Society.  The Humane Society here is filled to the brim with dogs and their doors are now sadly closed.  This idea to adopt a dog was laid on our hearts.  Right around the same time, Mike and Virginia shared with us an account of what they had seen the night before.  They witnessed Shady’s brother, the other survivor from Mama dog’s December 2012 litter, being beaten by a grown man.  A coward, in my opinion.  What is even more saddening is that during the beating, this sweet dog just continued to look up with love and he took it.  After Mike and Virginia shared this I just felt sick to my stomach.  We had just arrived home from the beach, so while showering off, I just could not get the image of this poor dog being beaten out of my head.  I had to tell myself that all, good and evil, is carved into eternity and that God works for the greater good in all.  Since that day a week ago, I continued to look into the yard every time we left, but I never saw this dog.  I couldn’t get that image out of my head.

Then, yesterday, everything changed.  Virginia posted an urgent plea on Facebook in regards to the dog.  Apparently she knows an acquaintance to the owner and the dog was no longer wanted.  The dog needed a new home and whoever wanted it could just take it.  There was no hesitation this time and I shared the news with my husband, Tim.  Of course we needed to go meet this dog, because we have our baby, Jack.  We had to make sure that this abused animal wasn’t of a bad temperament.  So, last night Tim, Jack, and I took a walk with Mike and Virginia to meet “Chico” as he was named.  Within minutes “Chico” was outwardly expressing his friendly demeanor and a plea for love.  Virginia asked if we would foster him or keep him and I said, if we were to foster him we would most definitely fall in love with him and therefore, we would have to keep him.  It was truly a God thing too.  It is apparent that our desire to adopt a dog was heard from above, because “Chico” just fit.  Well, all except that name anyways.  “Chico” the name had to go, but the resilient survivor of a dog was here to stay.

So, how does one name a dog?  Whew.  No easy process.  I asked via Facebook for a solid name for a male rescue dog and received great feedback (thank you!) :)  Ask and you shall receive!  Apparently to properly name a dog you must know its appearance, personality, and behavior.  Well, okay, so I shared that he was all white (well, maybe more of a cream color), he was friendly, and he was great with our son, Jack.  Here are some of the many wonderful names that were suggested:

Lucky (this was a popular one!),  Tim (funny, funny, Paul Reynolds!!), Spencer (this one made me think of the years that I watched The Hills on MTV),  Moses, Max, Chance, Journey, Keeper, Rescata (Spanish for rescue), Sparty (Go Green!), Rocky, Pirate, Sunny, Woof Woof, Happy, Chip, Rex, Flip Flop, Sammy, Noah…so many great names.

As of this morning, we thought that our new dog had a new name.  We thought Moses was a good choice and it was one that my dear friend, Joan, had as a suggestion.  However, as we called to him, Moses just didn’t seem right.  So, we were back at it trying to find the right name that suited our new dog.  Some might think it is silly to put so much energy into naming a dog, but he is not just a dog, he is now part of our family.

Finally, we found it.  We found the name that suits our dog.


Malachi (Mala for short)


Our newest addition to our family, now has a name, and his name is Malachi.  It is a strong name and it means, “My [God’s] messenger” or “My [God’s] angel”.  Already, Malachi fits right into our family; but, that is no surprise, because he was an answer to an unspoken prayer.  We had it in our hearts to help an animal in need and Malachi just happened to be in an urgent need of a new place – a safe place where he could call home.


Thank you to everyone who helped us consider names for our rescue pup!  It just goes to show that there is good despite evil and all of the responses given on Facebook were an outward expression of love for our dog, who is now named Malachi.  

Much love from our expanded family to yours! ~ Nicole 


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